Monday, February 13, 2006

San Francisco Chinese New Year of the Dog

I braved the most visited event (probably tied to the Gay and Lesbian Parade in June) and claimed my spot to see the Chinese New Year's Parade on Saturday, February 11, 2006 at 5:30 PM.

The parade is extensive with many floats, bands, schools, businesses and politicians. Even though it was colorful, I have to admit that I was very disappointed. I felt as though I was watching one long commercial and not a true 4,000+ year-old event from the Chinese culture.

These two exhibits were done by airlines, I believe.

I was hoping for traditional costumes with firecrackers and banners and dragons, which it had, but that was a small part of the parade. As the gentleman said next to me, it was just too many cars. Cars for politicians; cars, trucks and trolleys for businesses with people in them, waving. I understand needing some vehicles to haul the floats, but I really don't care to look at people I don't know who are only in it for their own benefit and not that of the spectators and of the event itself. I will not go back to this event next year.

But what I will do is go to Chinatown the following day. The day after in Chinatown is the hidden gem in all of this. It is a day for the Chinatown neighborhood to come out and have fun.

One block past the Chinese gateway (Grant and California) to Grant and Pacific and reaching on both sides to Stockton and Kearny were booths from local businesses to large corporations and neighborhood associations that are part of the Chinatown neighborhood. Some businesses were giving away free gifts, others were playing games that gave people a chance to win prizes, there were booths for health care issues and many selling Chinese New Year trinkets to lucky bamboo and I was able to buy beautiful orchid plants (not cut flowers) for $12.00 each.

These are trinkets that were for sale at the Chinese New Year's Day event.

What was so nice was the festive atmosphere and you felt as though the entire Chinatown neighborhood was out to celebrate, because you know what, it was!

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